Mourners across the country took out processions on Tuesday to observe Yaum-i-Ashura amid tight security arrangements and with cellular services suspended in several areas.
Yaum-i-Ashura is observed every year on Muharram 10 with solemnity to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs of Karbala.
Strict security measures were taken to ensure the safe passage of processions in the major cities. Mobile phone services had remained suspended for the third consecutive day as part of the security measures, however, they started reopening after 6pm.
Later in the evening, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, in a press conference, said that not a single untoward incident had occurred during the first 10 days of Muharram.
He lauded the security institutions for playing a "seminal role for ensuring peace during the mourning processions and majalis".
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also congratulated Sanaullah and all the security forces for protecting the lives and property of the people during the last three days.
"This day has been completed peacefully due to your team work," he said in a statement issued by the PM
The main procession in Karachi, which was taken out from Nishtar Park at 9:00am, culminated at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah after passing along MA Jinnah Road, according to a press release issued by traffic police.
During the course of this journey, mourners covered Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Road, Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khorasan, MA Jinnah Road, Mansfield street, Preedy street and Bolton Market.
In Karachi and other major cities of Sindh, more than 55,000 police and Rangers personnel have been deployed for the security of mourning processions and mobile phone and internet services are to remain suspended under a comprehensive security plan for Ashura.
After the processions culminated, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, in a statement available with Dawn.com, lauded the police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies for successfully fulfilling their responsibilities.
He also thanked the doctors and paramedic staff for providing their services to the participants of the processions.
In Peshawar, the day's first procession commenced at Imambargah Agha Najaf Ali Shah while cellular phone services remain suspended.
Altogether, 12 processions were taken out in the city, the Dawn.com correspondent in Peshawar said.
Tight security arrangements had been made for Ashura in the city, with around 11,000 police personnel deployed to guard mourning processions, same as on Muharram 9, he said.
The main procession in Quetta commenced at Imambargah Hussainiya Syedabad on Alamdar Road, and passed through Toghi Road, Liaquat Bazaar and Prince Road to return to Alamdar Road, where it culminated around 8pm, according to a statement issued by the Balochistan Shia Conference.
During the course, Shia scholars delivered speeches at Bacha Khan Chowk, where Zuhr prayers were be offered.
According to Quetta DIG Fida Hussain, strict security measures had been implemented on the route of the procession, along which 5,000 police personnel had been deployed. Frontier Corps personnel and those from other law enforcement agencies had also been deployed to guard the procession, he said in a statement.
The DIG said CCTV cameras were employed for air surveillance, adding commercial centres along the procession's routes were sealed and road had been blocked for traffic.
Mobile phone services in the city remained suspended from 6am to 8pm, he said, adding that three battalions of the Pakistan Army were on standby.
Earlier, a Dawn report quoted him as saying that 24 imambargahs had been declared highly sensitive in the city while 23 sensitive.
Majalis were being held in 57 imambargahs while women’s majalis were going on in 20 takiya khanas, he said, adding that 21 permanent gates and 49 gates had been set up for meetings across Quetta and patrolling of security forces increased in and around the city.
The main procession in Islamabad was taken out from Islamabad Qasr-i-Zainabia, a tweet by Islamabad police said.
Earlier, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon said mobile phone services would remain suspended on Muharram 10 and 11 in the capital. Mobile phone services would not be available on Muharram 10 from 10am to 4pm and from 9am till 10pm in areas of Bari Imam on Muharram 11, the deputy commissioner said.
Meanwhile, Dawn reported that the security level in Rawalpindi was raised to ‘red alert’ and 6,000 law enforcement personnel were in the district, as well as snipers on rooftops of buildings located along the route of the main procession.
The report said city areas would remain under tight security with roads closed for traffic and additional checkpoints and barriers set up.
A police spokesperson told Dawn that foolproof security arrangements had been made for Muharram 10 over 1,000 personnel had been deployed to perform traffic duties.
Moreover, the report said pillion riding, display of weapons and use of loudspeakers would be banned and legal action would be taken if the bans were violated.
In his message on Ashura, PM Shehbaz said Imam Hussain's message of "resistance and defiance will continue to inspire humanity to aspire for a moralistic world order that is based on universal principles of equality and freedom".
He said the "supreme sacrifice rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his family drew a distinct line between the forces of truth and falsehood, and the oppressor and the oppressed.
"The great Imam established a moral principle that has animated the struggles for the right to self-determination".
The PM stressed the need for seeking guidance from the "exemplary character" of Imam Hussain and his companions as "humanity navigates multiple challenges and seeks to break the logjam it finds itself in".